I seem to have missed much of the fuss about Michael Gorman's Revenge of the Blog People! article in Library Journal. You can read some of the reaction here and via here. Gorman's gist is that all this Google/blog/computer stuff is way over-rated and we should all just sit down and read a good book instead. My first problem is that his shear nastiness really undermines his credibility; how about these for some quotes:
A blog is a species of interactive electronic diary by means of which the unpublishable, untrammeled by editors or the rules of grammar, can communicate their thoughts via the web
Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs. In that case, their rejection of my view is quite understandable.
To go through the flaws of each and every one of his points would be, er, pointless. (Although I promise to try harder on the typo thing.) Blogs are not all good. Not all bloggers have something important to say. Google isn't perfect. Digitization won't solve all problems for everyone. Relevance ranking is very, very hard to do well. It seems to me that all these points are self-evident to an intelligent person, but to deny that trying to make these technologies work for people is somehow wrong is, to me, the kind of facile reasoning he accuses the bloggers of employing. He has a bit of a I'm-not-a-total-luddite disclaimer at the end, but it rings hollow after the opening rant. I can't believe this guy is a UL. Please, nobody show this guy the Wikipedia.
A few words about his one sort-of good point: "If a fraction of the [money spent on Google] were devoted to buying books and providing librarians for the library-starved children of California [and the world], the effort would be of far more use to humanity and society." I added the "and the world" bit. Who can deny the studies that have so closely link better literacy scores with the presence of a librarian in the schools. It's always a shame when short-sighted administrators use Google and the web as an excuse to cut physical libraries and in-the-flesh librarians. But at the same time, it would be equally foolish to deny the value of the web in cases when libraries and librarians are just not possible. I'm just not sure why he expects Google to start funding the public libraries of California. (I thought that was Bill Gates' job.)